The Spring Without North Pole Season |

The Spring Without North Pole Season

For the first time in 18 years, the North Pole will not see visitors due to a complex combination of political and natural obstacles.

The North Pole is a very hard place to reach. It lies on a shifting ice sheet over ocean water. Unlike the South Pole, there is no land-based location from which to start an overland journey.

Visitors have a short spring window to arrive before ice becomes unstable in the summer. And this year, a combination of politics and weather has forced potential visitors to cancel their plans.

“Everybody’s disappointed, and it’s one of those situations where everybody loses,” said Eric Larsen, a polar explorer who has spent the past two weeks waiting with clients for an airplane ride to launch an expedition. “There’s a lot of money involved, from the individuals to the guides like myself. It’s a loss for everyone.”

Travel to the poles tends to be a dicey prospect. Every move has to be planned and calculated, and even the smallest problem can mushroom into a disaster.

But delays in completing an ice runway and political conflicts stymied operations. Specifically, Russian officials banned Ukranian pilots and crew from landing there.

For more on this story, visit Stephen Regenold is the founder and writes about outdoors gear for Gear Junkie.

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